Lost Generation

views updated May 11 2018


LOST GENERATION refers to a group of early-twentieth-century American writers, notably Hart Crane, e. e. cummings, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder, and Thomas Wolfe. The writings of these authors were shaped by World War I and self-imposed exile from the American mainstream. Malcolm Cowley, a chronicler of the era, suggested that they shared a distaste for the grandiose patriotic war manifestos, although they differed widely in their means of expressing that distaste. The influence of T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein, as well as encouragement of editors and publishers of magazines such as Dial, Little Review, transition, and Broom, were significant in the development of their writings.


Cowley, Malcolm. A Second Flowering: Works and Days of the Lost Generation. New York: Viking Press, 1974.

Dolan, Marc. Modern Lives: A Cultural Re-reading of the "Lost Generation." West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1996.

SarahFerrell/d. b.

See alsoGenerational Conflict ; Literature: Popular Literature .

lost generation

views updated May 23 2018

lost gen·er·a·tion • n. the generation reaching maturity during and just after World War I, a high proportion of whose men were killed during those years. ∎  an unfulfilled generation coming to maturity during a period of instability.